Malindo Air (OD, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) has announced it will make its longhaul debut later this month with the launch of flights to Saudi Arabia.

In a statement, the Malaysian unit of Lion Air (JT, Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta) said effective February 21, it would offer a 2x weekly flight to Jeddah using B737-900(ER) equipment. From March 25 onwards, the service will graduate to daily, it added. Given the flight's range, a technical stop in Ahmedabad, India, will be made on both legs of the service.

According to the ch-aviation capacity module, the Kuala Lumpur-Jeddah market is currently served by three carriers offering a total of 6,709 seats per week. Saudia (SV, Jeddah) is the largest with 3,461, or 51.59%, of the route's weekly capacity followed by Malaysia Airlines (MH, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) with 1,740, or 25.94%, and AirAsia X (D7, Kuala Lumpur Int'l) with 1,508 (22.48%).

“We are delighted to provide another traveling option at affordable prices for our Muslim guests from Malaysia and throughout the region, to Jeddah, which is the main gateway to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah for their holy pilgrimage of Hajj and Umrah," Chandran Rama Muthy, CEO of Malindo Air said. "At the same time, Malindo Air will provide KLIA as a hub for Saudi tourists to visit Malaysia and the Far East."

Malindo Air is also planning to acquire an A330-300 although specific delivery dates have yet to be announced.

Aside from domestic Malaysian flights, Malindo Air also serves destinations in India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Nepal.